Tuesday, June 9, 2009

NTC: Bloggregating the News

Got up this morning and created the "TOP STORY: OBAMA AND JOBS" post at NTCNews.com, which took every bit of 10 minutes, augmented by subsequent additions.

The news business is not rocket science. That's the basic insight at NTCNews.com, an insight inspired in part by Protein Wisdom's slogan, "Because Not Just Anybody Can Summarize the News." And, thanks to Carol at No Sheeples Here, we're proud to report that you don't need a bowtie to aggregate the news, either.

The major inspiration, of course, was when Tucker Carlson came bigfooting into the blogosphere with his announcement that he would create the "Huffington Post of the Right." This raised lots of eyebrows. Tucker's a TV pundit. What the heck does he know about blogs?

Well, what does anybody need to know about blogs? (Other than The Rules.) For all we know, the "TuckPo" will be absolutely wonderful. But it had better not suck.

A Work In Progress
Meanwhile, rather than waiting around to see what The Bowtied One would bring forth, I collaborated with co-blogger Smitty and with Jimmie Bise Jr. of Sundries Shack to develop NTCNews.com.

It's a work in progress, but it is both working and progressing, while the TuckPo is still just a page bragging about "fearless journalism." (Hey, Tucker: Fear this, y'know what I'm saying?)

The thing is, several conservative activists had talked to me in recent months about the "Huffington Post of the Right" concept. My reply generally involved the question: What does HuffPo have that we don't have? Money, period. You give me the money Arianna Huffington's spent on that site, and I'd kick her ass from here to Brentwood.

Evidently, somebody gave Tucker Carlson some money -- one source told me Carlson had previously been turned down by various organizations he'd asked for funding -- and so now he's going to teach us bloggers how to aggregate the news.

How do bloggers feel about that? Among others, Michelle Malkin and Mitchell Blatt were profoundly skeptical. This goes back to CPAC in February, when Tucker Carlson proclaimed to the world that conservatives don't do reporting. As I said two weeks ago:
Having spent 10 years at The Washington Times, I know a thing or two about reporting news, and was insulted by this assertion by Carlson -- a rich-boy TV pundit -- that conservatives weren't doing reporting.
What about NewsMax? Human Events? The American Spectator? National Review? CNS? Townhall? All of these are conservative organizations that employ news reporters.
I remember seeing Byron York in a gym at a Sarah Palin rally in Pennsylvania, reporting from the scene. Tucker Carlson? Nope, he wasn't there.
Four days after the big TuckPo announcement, the Tiller murder story broke on a Sunday, and most bloggers were slow to pick up on it. Having already started developing "Not Tucker Carlson" on a Blogspot platform, the Kansas killing seemed like the kind of big story that could use some rapid aggregation. I called Jimmie and asked him to buy a domain name and, voila, NTCNews.com had its first top story.

Bowtie Optional
A work in progress, like I said. Wednesday night we got our first "scoop," being the first to report the remarks of George Will and Bill Kristol at the Bradley Prizes. Not a big story, but still a legit exclusive. And we've debuted a series of daily editorials, "300 Words Or Less," with guest contributions from bloggers including Fisherville Mike, TrogloPundit, Moe Lane and Becky Brindle. (Bloggers who want to offer a "300 Words Or Less" commentary should e-mail Smitty or e-mail Jimmie.)

We continue to work and progress. Over the past several days, while I was visiting Georgia, Smitty and Jimmie kept the site running without me. We plan to add more contributing aggregators -- other bloggers who can post news updates -- but if you'll scroll down through the NTCNews.com sidebars, you'll find a slew of blog feeds arranged so that the site is already "auto-updating" to a large extent.

What next? Who knows? Right now, we could use some money. Several people have already hit the tip jar. So far, it's a long way from Arianna Huffington's divorced-my-gay-millionaire-husband money, but we're grateful for every $5, $10 or $20 contribution. (Please specify the purpose of your PayPal donation, so it doesn't accidentally get mixed in with the Emergency Fireworks Fund.)

Can a handful of bloggers relying on tip-jar contributions create a major news site? If it's never been tried before, it's certainly about time.

6/2: Bowtie Optional
5/29: 'This will not end well for him'
5/27: Exactly What Will the TuckPo Be?
5/26: Tucker Freaking Carlson?

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